Should I build an AI tool in-house or use a supply chain AI platform?

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3 Minutes Read


Artificial intelligence (AI) technology advancements have opened up numerous opportunities for companies to optimise and enhance their supply chains. Top businesses are using AI to extract valuable insights into and data from their operations, which can be used to inform decision-making and drive business growth.

The question that many organisations face today is whether they should invest in developing their own in-house AI solutions or explore existing AI platforms to achieve their goals.

 

Why you might bring it in-house

Investing in in-house AI solutions can appear to have several advantages. Firstly, you’d have complete control over the development and implementation of the AI system. This would give you the ability to customise the solution to your specific needs and requirements. That would help you make sure that it perfectly fits your existing processes and systems. 

Another possible advantage of in-house AI solutions is that you can control whether or not they integrate with other internal supply chain systems and processes. Furthermore, in-house AI solutions can be tailored to the company’s data privacy and security needs, reducing the risk of data breaches and ensuring that confidential information is protected. Although a good AI platform should be able to showcase its security measures and ensure your data protection regardless.

Read more: How secure is 7bridges?

However, there are also several disadvantages to investing in in-house AI solutions. The development and implementation of these solutions can be time-consuming and expensive, requiring significant talent, infrastructure, and resource investments. Companies may also find it challenging to attract and retain the necessary AI talent, particularly if they do not have an established AI culture and expertise within the organisation.

Moreover, developing and maintaining an in-house AI solution requires a significant level of technical expertise and ongoing support, which can be difficult and costly to provide. This can result in delays, increased costs, and a clunky user experience.

 

The perks of using an AI platform

On the other hand, using existing AI platforms has its own set of benefits. Firstly, these platforms are typically faster and more cost-effective to implement, allowing companies to achieve their goals more quickly and at a lower cost. They also offer a more streamlined and efficient solution, with many features and functionalities already built in. 

On top of that, you don’t need to hire teams, overload existing resources or upskill your IT team in supply chain knowledge. Instead of having to bring them into the project and brief them to create something from scratch, you have a ready-to-go set of tools that were created by experts in the field. Using more people to get a job done than you need to is a hard sell at any time, but it’s especially difficult during a recession.

Read more: A supply chain manager’s guide to navigating the recession

Another advantage of using existing AI platforms is that they are typically more reliable and robust, with a proven track record of delivering results. This reduces the risk of technical failures and ensures that the supply chain continues to run smoothly. In addition, existing AI platforms are often better equipped to handle large volumes of data, making them ideal for companies with complex and data-intensive supply chains.

Another benefit of using existing AI platforms is that they often offer a wide range of features and functionalities that are not available with in-house solutions. This includes advanced analytics and predictive modelling tools, machine learning algorithms, and real-time data and performance monitoring. And that’s without touching on more specialist capabilities like Scope 3 emissions monitoring or specialty carrier negotiations. These tools and functionalities can help companies to achieve a more comprehensive and effective supply chain, leading to improved performance and increased profitability.

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That said, there is one minor disadvantage to using an existing AI platform. Namely, you don’t have total control over every piece of code that goes into its creation. However, you a) probably don’t want to spend all of your time nitpicking bits of code (or hiring someone to do it for you) and b) still retain actual control of your data. So you don’t miss out on much there. While you may not end up with quite as tailored of an approach, you’ll find that some platforms, like 7bridges, have a really flexible approach and integrate with enough systems that it is still very easy.

After considering the pros and cons of both options, using existing AI platforms like 7bridges may be the best choice for many companies looking to optimise and enhance their supply chains. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Existing AI platforms are typically faster and more cost-effective to implement than in-house solutions, allowing companies to achieve their goals more quickly and at a lower cost.
  • Reliability: Existing AI platforms are often more reliable and robust than in-house solutions, reducing the risk of technical failures and ensuring that the supply chain continues to run smoothly.
  • Advanced features and functionalities: Existing AI platforms offer a wide range of advanced features and functionalities that are not typically available with in-house solutions, including advanced analytics and predictive modelling tools, machine learning algorithms, and real-time data and performance monitoring.
  • No need for technical expertise: Companies do not need to have a significant level of technical expertise to use existing AI platforms, as the platform provider is responsible for the development and maintenance of the solution.
  • Access to data: Existing AI platforms can process and analyse large volumes of data, providing valuable insights and information to companies that can help inform decision-making and drive business growth. In addition to that, they often have access to provider data that is more difficult to obtain as a customer.

All in all, using an existing AI platform appears to be the best choice for many companies looking to optimise and enhance their supply chains. These platforms offer a cost-effective, reliable, and feature-rich solution that can help companies to achieve their goals more quickly and efficiently.


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